Increased risk of injury in children with developmental disabilities

Res Dev Disabil. May-Jun 2008;29(3):247-55. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2007.05.002. Epub 2007 Jun 19.


The objective of this study was to examine injury risk in children with autism, ADD/ADHD, learning disability, psychopathology, or other medical conditions. Children aged 3-5 years who participated in the National Survey of Children's Health were included. Six study groups were analyzed in this report: autism (n=82), ADD/ADHD (n=191), learning disability (n=307), psychopathology (n=210), other medical conditions (n=1802), and unaffected controls (n=13,398). The weighted prevalence of injury in each group was 24.2% (autism), 26.5% (ADD/ADHD), 9.3% (learning disability), 20.5% (psychopathology), 14.6% (other medical conditions), and 11.9% (unaffected controls). Compared to unaffected controls, the risk of injury was 2.15 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.00-4.60), 2.74 (95% CI: 1.63-4.59), 2.06 (95% CI: 1.24-3.42), and 1.26 (95% CI: 1.00-1.58) in children with autism, ADD/ADHD, psychopathology, and other medical conditions, respectively, after adjusting for child sex, child age, number of children in the household, child race, and family poverty level. Children with autism, ADD/ADHD, and other psychopathology were about 2-3 times more likely to experience an injury that needs medical attention than unaffected controls. Future studies need to clarify the extent to which injuries in young children with autism, ADD/ADHD, and psychopathology are related to core symptoms, comorbid conditions, associated behaviors, or unintentional injuries due to lack of additional supervision from caregivers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention / methods*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Developmental Disabilities / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Risk*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*